MANILA, Philippines—A baby boy whose photos showing him being manhandled by his uncle were posted on the social networking site Facebook more than a month ago is now doing well, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The photos showing the 11-month-old baby being strangled by his uncle created a public uproar among concerned citizens, who expressed disgust at the boy’s uncle, identified as Daniel Villanueva.
DSWD Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman said her department continues to monitor the baby’s condition to prevent further incidents of abuse. The baby’s mother agreed to take her child away from her brother.
Soliman said the DSWD, through its Region 3 office, immediately conducted a home visit and assessment of the baby boy’s situation in coordination with the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office of Botolan, Zambales.
An investigation conducted by the DSWD revealed that prior to the incident, the mother was not living with the boy because she works and lives in another area.
“The child now lives with his mother and grandmother in another municipality,” Soliman said.
“An order has already been issued that, for a period of one year, the perpetrator will not be allowed to enter the house where the child is staying. The mother and grandmother were made aware that if the uncle is allowed near the child, the DSWD will have grounds to take custody of the child,” she added.
Soliman added that the DSWD will provide financial assistance to the mother and child but did not say how much.
Soliman urged the public to remain vigilant and immediately inform concerned authorities about incidents of child abuse in their communities and to maximize the use of social media networks in reporting abuses.
Meanwhile, the DSWD and the Claretian Pastoral Care of the Sick deployed volunteers to conduct stress debriefing to families affected by Typhoon “Pablo” in New Bataan, Compostela Valley on Saturday.
Thirteen Pastoral Care Volunteers led by Fr. Arnold M. Abelardo conducted stress debriefing sessions for typhoon victims to help them cope with the trauma brought by the calamity.
The critical incident stress debriefing (CISD) is a process that prevents or limits the development of posttraumatic stress in people exposed to critical incidents. Professionally conducted debriefings help survivors cope with, and recover from, the aftereffects of the calamity.
Fr. Abelardo explained that sessions enable survivors to understand that they are not alone and provide them with an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings in a controlled, safe environment.
“We prioritized New Bataan because it was identified by the DSWD and the local government unit as one of the severely affected towns in Compostela Valley which resulted to high number of casualties,” Fr. Abelardo added.
He said they will also conduct stress debriefing sessions in other typhoon-affected areas, which will be identified by the DSWD and the local government units.
“The survivors will be subjected to different CISD approach while children will undergo draw-and-tell sessions to encourage them to portray their experiences through drawings in the hope of mitigating the effects of their trauma,” Fr. Abelardo expounded.